Six tips on making a perfect summer garden from landscape designer, Veena Nanda
Gone are the days of merely having an impressive living room with state-of-the-art decor. A beautiful outdoor space is also what millennials aspire for. They like to sit back in their chairs in their gardens, sip coffee and admire the lush greenery around.
Offering customised designer landscape ideas is Veena Nanda. Trained under veterans - Jyoti and Nikunj Parekh in Mumbai, Veena has mastered the art of landscaping, and has more than 30 years of experience behind her. She shares some tips and tricks with YS Weekender on how maintain a lush green outdoor space in your home.
Veena's expertise lies in designing landscapes for villas, penthouses, farmhouses, terrace gardens and large commercial spaces and lawns. She brings character to a space using sculptures, water features, artefacts, pathways, pergolas, gazebos and lighting.
The 54-year-old Bangalorean has been conducting workshops for almost 26 years and is running Sunshine Garden Boutique, a garden store, for almost nine years.
Veena comes from a coffee estate background, with a passion for gardening instilled into her since childhood. Her grandfather was a coffee planter in Chikmagalur. "My mother was an avid gardener herself and I spent most of my childhood around a lot of greenery," Veena says.
Veena has some landscaping tips for her clients
After her studies, Veena jumped into landscape designing to explore her love for green spaces. "I specialised in designer landscaping and bringing in a lot of characteristics to the garden. I design both the hardscape and the landscape of a region," she adds.
Watch the sunlight
The most difficult time to maintain a garden is during summer. "Plants always need a lot of love and care, but during the summer months, they need a little more attention," Veena says.
One has to be careful about the amount of sunlight each plant receives. It goes without saying, that plants have to be watered more frequently during the warmer days.
Be careful of the amount of sunlight each plant receives
"You should make sure that you do not water the plant at noon when the sun is right at its peak," Veena adds. If watered during noon, there will be droplets of water on the leaf, which in turn will act like a prism and magnify the sun rays, thereby burning the leaves.”
People also water their plants before leaving for office, during lunch breaks or after they get back home. "You can't water them whenever you are free,” says Veena. “You have to water them early in the morning or at sunset."
Don’t forget to mulch
"During the summer, you have to do a lot of mulching. You need to put some kind of layer around the root help keep the plant cool." You can use bits of newspaper, cloth or even cotton to keep the roots moist and slow down evaporation from the ground.
Mulching is important during the summer months
With a little more care and attention, summers would not be as bad for your precious greens.
Veena says that hardy plants like palm and cactus, which do not need much watering, are the best buys for the summer. Smaller flowering plants, like geranium, are also good options for the season.
"Do not clutter your balconies with too many plants if you can't maintain them," advises Veena. Cluttering will leave an already tiny space untidier. "Add accessories like a bird bath or a bird house to make your balconies more attractive," she adds.
Veena advises gardeners to use ceramic tubs to avoid ugly moss and fungal growth. "If you want to keep a few pots in your balcony, always use ceramic ones as they will help you keep your balcony cleaner," she says.
Vertical gardens are very trendy
If there is a scarcity of space, you can always go vertical, explains Veena. Vertical gardens have become a big thing now and a lot of people are growing herbs and vegetables that can be hung up on a wall.
Vegetable gardens have become an absolute craze now. "While it is nice to make a vegetable garden, it is not something that people stick to," Veena says.
A vegetable garden is not a good idea if you do not have enough space
If the available space is huge, one can have a dedicated space for a vegetable garden. However, small terraces are not worth it, since "You can't simply grow vegetables that will sustain your kitchen. It's only going to be a few and that excitement lasts for a very short time," she says.
Also, unattended vegetable gardens leave the space untidy. "If you really think you can maintain a vegetable garden, then you could grow some herbs," Veena advises.
Try your hand at Bonsai
If you are interested in the art of growing Bonsais, you should not rely on books or the Internet. "One has to get hands-on experience if they are really interested in Bonsai. They must attend workshops to know the right techniques," she says.
Growing bonsai is the best way to celebrate summer
A Bonsai can last as long as the owner lasts. "It is not difficult to make one last. Bonsais need to be regularly pruned and fertilised.”
“Here are some gardening myths that have no basis,” says Veena. “To begin with, it is a myth that keeping plants indoor is a bad idea or that indoor plants are a breeding ground for mosquitoes. If you have a well-maintained garden without stagnant water, there will not be any breeding of mosquitoes," Veena tells us.
The landscape designer says that she has noticed people becoming increasingly conscious about outdoor spaces and going out of their ways to set up beautiful landscapes.
"Interestingly, the menfolk are also actively becoming interested in home gardening nowadays. It is not really just a woman thing anymore," she says.